By Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, PhD,
June 6, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —— The social and electronic media is awash with the news of the anticipated encounter between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former deputy in the SPLM and in the Government of South Sudan. This encounter comes almost five years in the civil war that has pushed back South Sudan into the middle Ages. It is not too late to salvage South Sudan and raise it up from the social, economic and political avalanche. There is reason for high hopes even for the cynics.
The IGAD region, the Africa continent and the world remains seized to the peace efforts; have identified and singled out President Kiir and Riek Machar as the two leaders on whom hinges South Sudan peace. They are keenly watching whether or not the two leaders will this time oblige to the yearning of the people of South Sudan for peace and stability given that the whole crisis has boiled down to power.
Everybody is holding own breath awaiting the time between now and 30 June when the two leaders meet. Will the two leaders rise above their personal and respective ethnic egos to redeem themselves? The encounter between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar is not like that between President Donald Trump and President Kim Il UN in Singapore on 12 June. Although Kiir and Riek have committed our people to fight themselves over the last five years, nevertheless, they are still South Sudanese and the people of South Sudan without exception carried the brunt. We are all victims of their shortsightedness.
A no agenda encounter
It is difficult to read what is in the mind of the IGAD Special Envoy when he proposed this meeting. There is no clear agenda. However, one may glean from the conclusion of the HLRF, the region wants the two leaders to emulate the famous ‘hand shake’ by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the opposition leader Raila Odinga; and to look at and endorse the ‘Bridging Proposal’ on which they concluded the HLRF last May. If that is the case, then it is a ‘patriotic test’ for President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. It will remove the canopy of legitimacy under which the two have been shielding from the agony the people of South Sudan have lived through the five years of civil war. The people of South Sudan must now take the centre stage in an effort to prevent a relapse to 8 July 2016. President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar must, from now on, talk about what they should do rebuild the country together with the other leaders who jumped to the opposition since then.
The risks of ‘patriotism test’ are many. I would therefore advise that the two leaders shy away from any talk about power and its sharing or about reforms in the system. These will have no meaning in the transition or after. The people of South Sudan desire a lean government and efficient and effective bureaucracy that can deliver social and economic development. This will require a complete transformation of the current socio-economic and political system to enable the people exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the constitution and the building of strong and democratic institutions.
The author, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, is the first South Sudanese politician to resign from the SPLM party and resigned twice from ministerial positions in Salva Kiir government. He has served in SPLM-IO since he sneaked out from the capital, Juba, in June 2014. For more articles from Dr. Peter Adwok vistit: Peter Adwok’s Category on Nyamilepedia